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The Bellydancers of Cairo
The Bellydancers of Cairo
Genres: Music Video & Concerts, Special Interests, Educational, Documentary
NR     2006     1hr 13min

Join American bellydancer Natasha Senkovich as she journeys to Egypt and speaks to many Oriental dancers ? from the struggling Cabaret performers to the very famous, sexy Dina and the legendary Nagwa Fuad. With unprecedent...  more »


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Movie Details

Genres: Music Video & Concerts, Special Interests, Educational, Documentary
Sub-Genres: Pop, International, Dance, Educational, Documentary
Studio: Ark 21
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen
DVD Release Date: 09/12/2006
Original Release Date: 01/01/2006
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/2006
Release Year: 2006
Run Time: 1hr 13min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 3
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

Requisite Viewing for all Belly Dance Students
Shantell Powell | Kitchener, ON, Canada | 12/13/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Last night, I watched The Belly Dancers of Cairo. It's an excellent but sad documentary on the state of raqs sharqi in Egypt today. Despite the increasing popularity of the dance internationally, belly dance is dying in Egypt. Through interviews with Egyptian dance legends (eg. Dina, Nagwa Fuad, Lucy), current performers, a Muslim feminist, and a variety of Egyptian men from different walks of life, we can see how dancers are simultaneously loved and reviled. We are given cultural and religious context for this apparent contradiction.

Although raqs sharqi from the golden age of Egyptian cinema is looked upon fondly by the conservative men interviewed, their appreciation is conflicted. Dancers are looked upon as whores, a view reinforced by the dance films shown on a daily basis. Dancers in movies are invariably portrayed as wanton women, or gangsters' molls. To allow a female member of one's family to become a dancer would bring shame down on the entire family. More liberally-minded men may date a dancer, but once they get married, or once she bears children, she will have to end her career.

The film touches on how women in the public eye are considered to have questionable virtue. However, there is no mention of Oum Kalthoum, who was considered a national treasure. I can't help but be curious to see if she was considered a floozy at the same time that she was revered.

The documentary ends on a bittersweet note. Although the dance is dying in Egypt, it has spread itself over the world. These non-Egyptian dancers are responsible to carry on the legacy, and to save what would otherwise be a dying art form. And just so we're not without context, the DVD has an excellent features section which contains full-length performances by a variety of Egyptian dancers.

I need to get myself a copy of this. I recommend it to students of all varieties of belly dance (whether traditional Egyptian or any of the more modern fusion variants)."
Brilliant tool for understanding
Lauren | Belleville, IL United States | 10/22/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"As a belly dance instructor, I found this to be a terrific tool for understanding the strange place raks sharki has in Cairo society -- Dancers are enormous stars who are beloved and command huge sums for performances, and yet they are seen as prostitutes.

The film includes interviews with Samasem, Dina, Lucy, Nagwa Fouad, Khayreyya Maazin, and others. Eman Zaki talks at length about her mothers' recollections of dancing for Badia Masabni.

The special features include eight or nine performances and the filmmakers' lengthy discussion about their experiences during filming. They were charmingly open and honest about all their experiences and I enjoyed the discussion almost as much as the documentary!

I was riveted throughout the entire documentary AND the special features. This is a must-have for the library of serious dancers or dance teachers."
An important documentary detailing the struggles of courageo
L. Lee | Duarte, CA | 11/03/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Watcing this documentary, I was surprised by how little I knew about the Bellydancers of Cairo.

I viewed this documentary with a friend, and was extremely touched by the stories of these women. It amazes me that an entire society is able to both love and despise this artform and the women who perform it.

The struggles and sacrifices women have gone through in order to do what they love is truly inspiring, and I watch videos of egyptian bellydancers with renewed respect and appreciation.

As a student of this artform, I've purchased many bellydance dvd's and tapes. It was amazing to me that so many egyptian superstars were willing to be interviewed and were willing to speak about their lives in such a candid manner.

This documentary is definitely a must have for any serious student of oriental dance.

A Great Documentary, A Must For Any Serious Student/Dancer
Deonne | 10/27/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I absolutely love this DVD. As a dancer who has purchased over 250 DVD's and every possible documentary on bellydance, I must tell you this is a great DVD.

The personal interviews with many stars of Egypt tells their stories of fame, the barriers they had to overcome, as well as stories of sadness they encountered in their lives as dancers.

It is ironic in a society that much loves and admires these dancers, that they also look so down upon them and would never allow their sister or daughter to dance.

It is sad in the respect that more and more Egyptian women are being forced away from dancing by a more conservitive modern Egyptian society, that you would think is loosening constrictions on women in this day and age, is actually tightening them. Our beloved dance is actually being forced out of Egypt, the mother of dance.

I love the statements made towards the end, ecspecially by Lucy and Samasen, about how dancing is on the decline in Egypt, but it has spread throughout the world, hoping it will return to Egypt someday, but it is up to us to keep their dance alive. Samasen said it best, "Thank good it is foriengers that are keeping it alive, this is a big legacy".

As a serious student of this art, this DVD will make you applaud, appreciate, and love these famed dancers at a personal level as well as touch your soul with their stories of sadness and reality of their society. Nowhere has a documentary has touched me as much as this one in our beloved dance. It is up to us to keep this dance alive and hopefully it will return to these countries as big as it once was.

There is full length of 9 dancers performances or at least a full song of dancers performances under Special Features. A previous poster must not of noticed that.

Shimmy on, Deonne (AKA - Kirabellydancer)"